Way back in 2006-2007 I was leading the Media Window project (HD video call and immersive telepresence for mobiles, using a dedicated FPGA “USB hardware accessory”, and the new phenomenon of HD TV, with the dream that HD projection and full wall HD TV would become commonplace within 3-10 years).
That was cool and taught me very important lessons about prioritising design and engineering for user centered design (UCD), and intuitively what “affect” and “enchantment” meant even before I picked up the User Experience (UX) literature trail. (Personally, this added HCI and UCD arrows to my telecoms and protocols quiver, with smart spaces and software management along the way). However, a very real problem was that our 2-nation user studies and UCD were too realistic a sample of normal people, and so none of the Dutch and almost none of the Finnish participants had been down the purchase journey for HD TV of any size.
So we pivoted the user study (while the tech research plowed on with a bunch of firsts for mobile HD video call and USB UVC), and co-created several concepts for remote presence and video telepresence including ‘the Pet’ which started life gerbil-like and became hedgehog-like (we were visualising kids in gardens carrying around an actuated video call device). Then we spun this out and merged into another project (home phone), engaged Nokia Design, renamed the Pet “Jeppe”, and I adopted consultant-and-shepherd mode, giving over the mechanical and application design lead to my team (subsequently completely when I entered corporate and research strategy in 2008).
Just today I hunted down the web footprint of Jeppe to compare with some more recent DIY two-wheeled robots and it brought the whole saga back to life.
Here’s more on Jeppe: https://research.nokia.com/page/4818
And even theRegister news article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/11/nokia_jeppe/
And the acting debuts of some of my old colleagues (keep the day jobs guys:)